Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.04 16 Jan 2021


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Trump supporters were "curiously deferential" to some symbols of democracy when they stormed the Capitol Building in Washington DC ten days ago.

That's according to Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic with The Washington Post.

Five people died when supporters of outgoing US President stormed the centre of government in the US capital, with rioters smashing windows, occupying offices and spraying graffiti.

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Donald Trump has been since been impeached for a historic second time after the US House of Representatives secured enough votes to charge him for inciting the insurrection.

Following the attack, there will be extra security measures in place on Wednesday for the inauguration of incoming president Joe Biden.

Speaking on The Home Show with Sinead Ryan, Mr Kennicott said the Capitol is a "much-loved building" like many of the major structures and monuments in Washington DC.

On the riots, he said: "One of the really curious things about the insurrectionists, when they came through the Capitol, is they wanted to deface the building and so they did things like defecate in the corridors in a way that made it unusable for the people who should be using it, our elected representatives.

"But they were curiously deferential to some of those symbols of democracy like very famous paintings in the Rotunda.

"So, there's an image that many people have remarked upon of these people storming the Capitol yet walking through the velvet ropes in the Statuary Hall, and we're all trying to make sense of that.

"It really does come down to I think a distinction between attacking the building as a symbol and attacking the building as a functional building."

Damage to the irreplaceable items in the Capitol Building was "rather small", with the majority of damage done to windows and doors, he said.

He added: "Some of the art was damaged but mainly by chemicals, [from] fire hydrants and toxic sprays used for crowd control."

Trump supporters 'curiously deferential' to some symbols of democracy during Capitol riots

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Mr Kennicott said the upcoming inauguration will look different than it has in the past, due to concerns over security as well as the COVID-19 crisis.

He said: "As I understand the plans now, with the caveat that these are changing as the security situation changes and as the COVID pandemic situation keeps evolving, is for the president to take his oath of office on the west terrace as usual.

"But with a considerably smaller number of people in the viewing stands and hopefully not with the major crowds gathered on the mall watching.

"So it will be a hybrid of some scenes that we recognise from previous inaugurations but then also a lot of scenes that looked a lot more like the political conventions this summer that used camera and studious and uplinks to create a sense of crowd and community."

Ireland's Samantha Power, who has been nominated to lead the US Agency for International Development by the President-elect, said last night that she has not made a final decision on whether she will attend the inauguration.

Main image: Rioters enter the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 6th. Photo by Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA

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